• synonyms


[bar-uh n]
  1. a member of the lowest grade of nobility.
  2. (in Britain)
    1. a feudal vassal holding his lands under a direct grant from the king.
    2. a direct descendant of such a vassal or his equal in the nobility.
    3. a member of the House of Lords.
  3. an important financier or industrialist, especially one with great power in a particular area: an oil baron.
  4. a cut of mutton or lamb comprising the two loins, or saddle, and the hind legs.
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Compare baron of beef.

Origin of baron

1200–50; Middle English < Anglo-French, Old French < Late Latin barōn- (stemof barō) man < Germanic; sense “cut of beef” perhaps by analogy with the fanciful analysis of sirloin as “Sir Loin”
Can be confusedbarren baron baronet
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for barons


  1. a member of a specific rank of nobility, esp the lowest rank in the British Isles
  2. (in Europe from the Middle Ages) originally any tenant-in-chief of a king or other overlord, who held land from his superior by honourable service; a land-holding nobleman
  3. a powerful businessman or financiera press baron
  4. English law (formerly) the title held by judges of the Court of Exchequer
  5. short for baron of beef
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Word Origin

C12: from Old French, of Germanic origin; compare Old High German baro freeman, Old Norse berjask to fight
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for barons



c.1200, from Old French baron (nominative ber) "baron, nobleman, military leader, warrior, virtuous man, lord, husband," probably from or related to Late Latin baro "man," of uncertain origin, perhaps from Frankish *baro "freeman, man;" merged in England with cognate Old English beorn "nobleman."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper